Video View 8-19
Sunday, October 11, 2009

By Jay Bobbin
Tribune Media Services

STARTING THIS WEEK: "YEAR ONE": Prehistoric times get a comedic twist from director Harold Ramis in a spoof with jokes that aren't the most sophisticated. Jack Black and Michael Cera play cavemen banished from their tribe, forcing them to rely on their own wits - and that's trouble right there - to survive in literally primitive territory. Those who take their ancient history seriously should be braced to see it sliced and diced here; Hank Azaria, David Cross, Oliver Platt and Cera's "Superbad" pal Christopher Mintz-Plasse also are featured. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; outtakes. ** (PG-13 and unrated versions: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"MY LIFE IN RUINS": The enormous success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" left Nia Vardalos trying to get to that level again. She doesn't reach those heights with this comedy, but fans of the earlier film still should appreciate her work and the story here. Vardalos plays a novice tour guide whose love life takes a turn for the better as she takes a group of visitors through Greece; among the supporting players, Richard Dreyfuss shines as a tourist who has some wisdom to impart to the heroine. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by Vardalos, director Donald Petrie and writer Mike Reiss; deleted scenes; alternate ending. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"ALLY McBEAL: THE COMPLETE SERIES": It's been a long time coming for fans of producer David E. Kelley's former Fox show about a somewhat skittish Boston attorney, played to perfection by Calista Flockhart, so they can have the entire series in one shot now. (For those who can't meet the price tag, the first season also is available separately.) Gil Bellows plays the fellow lawyer who got away, and Courtney Thorne-Smith his wife, in a sterling supporting cast that also includes Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock"), Peter MacNicol ("NUMB3RS"). Lucy Liu and Greg Germann. Theme-song performer Vonda Shepard appears frequently, too. DVD extras: five "making-of" documentaries; "The Practice" crossover episode; soundtrack CD. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

"IMAGINE THAT": It seems Eddie Murphy has tried anything and everything to get his movie career back on track, and though he appealed to a family audience successfully with "Dr. Dolittle," his attempt to return there with this comedy falls short of the mark. He plays a financial executive who's having a hard time professionally, so he's willing to take advice from the residents of his young daughter's (Yara Shahidi) fantasy world in a bid to get back on track. Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways"), Vanessa Williams and Martin Sheen also appear. ** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"THE HILLS: SEASON FIVE, PART ONE": You want drama? The MTV series about female friends and "frenemies" in Los Angeles never fails to deliver, and in this case, much of the intensity revolves around the fraying relationship of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. She even moves out at one point, but if you've kept an eye on the tabloids, you know it doesn't end there. Heidi's former comrade, Lauren Conrad, sees another relationship hit the skids as her ties to Audrina Patridge undergo major strain. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

"WEREWOLF: THE COMPLETE SERIES": One of the purposely edgy shows that helped launch the Fox network in the mid-1980s, this nicely moody melodrama casts Chuck Connors - previously television's "Rifleman" - as an ancient werewolf who's the key to a grad student (John J. York, more recently of "General Hospital") ridding himself of the curse that turns him into a you-know-what when a full moon is out. Lance LeGault plays a bounty hunter who's on the same trail. *** (Not rated: AS. P, V)

COMING SOON: "LAND OF THE LOST" (Oct. 13): Will Ferrell stars in the update of the Krofft brothers' former Saturday-morning show, about an expedition to a world filled with Sleestaks and other unusual creatures. (PG-13: P, V)

"THE PROPOSAL" (Oct. 13): Facing deportation to her native Canada, a book editor (Sandra Bullock) pressures her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to become her husband. Betty White co-stars. (PG-13: AS, P)

"TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN" (Oct. 20): Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is at the center of another battle between Autobots and Decepticons in returning director Michael Bay's sequel. Megan Fox also is back. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3" (Nov. 3): A New York transit cop (Denzel Washington) matches wits with a ransom-seeking criminal (John Travolta) whose gang has overtaken a subway train. (R: P, V)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.



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